Hanging Signs - What to know at the show?

Shipping the sign
Shipping to the show or advanced warehouse
Many of the larger shows require that the hanging signs are shipped to the advance warehouse so that they may be installed before exhibits are set-up or freight is moved into the hall.

Choosing the installation location
Most of the time, we hang signs in the center of the booth. However, if you allow for a more flexible location, you can often simplify the hanging by guiding the hanging sign crew to avoid objects hanging from the ceiling. It often simplifies the installation to specify that the hanging sign be hung near center but not exactly at center. This is because in many halls there is no pick point or hanging fixture directly in the center of your booth, but there may be such hardware nearby. To create dead center where there is no hardware requires multiple hang points be joined together. This procedure requires more time and more expense.

Choosing an overall height
Your exhibitor manual will specify a maximum height that the sign may be hung at. Be careful, sometimes the paperwork requires you to specify the height to the top of your sign, and sometimes the height to the bottom of your sign. Thus, you need to know the height of your sign. It is also a good idea to know the height of your hanging harness with and without the motor attached. This way if you are hanging in a hall with a low hanging ceiling, you know the point at which the ceiling is not high enough to hang the sign using your harness, or motor, or at all. In some cases, eliminating the foot that the motor takes up or adjusting or renting a shorter harness will allow you to hang the sign as planned.

Planning around the convention center
In the case where the ceiling height is marginal for the hang, you may find that structure, air conditioning and utilities pipes will interfere with the maximum height that the sign can be hung. If you suspect this is the case, call the operations manager at the convention center or ask the general contractor after specifying your show name and booth number. They should be able to advise you about the hanging space above your particular booth.

Planning around other exhibits
You want to choose a height that is most visible and creates the most effective aesthetic for your company. Remember that your booth is your corporate identity. Having the booth accurately reflect your corporate identity in all aspects is imperative. Remember, some signs look better hung close to the booth, and others farther away. Take into account visibility within the hall, which includes the location of other hanging signs and tall exhibit structures nearby, and the look of the trade show booth in conjunction with the hanging sign.

At the show
If you own your own motor
Mark the motor with your company name. Almost all of the rotating motors are Dyna-Pacs. They all look the same.
Be careful to specify that you have your own hanging sign rotating motor during the installation.
Be careful to get the motor back from the sign crew during the takedown.

Before installing, check the motor and any lighting attached to the sign for proper operation. It is much less expensive to fix these problems on the ground, than once this equipment is in the air.

8:00 AM or first thing – with all labor scheduling at the show, asking that the installation be done at 8:00 AM usually gives you a predictable result. This means that the labor and machine will be at your booth between 8 and 8:30 and you will have the sign installed within a reasonable proximity to your timeline.

If your installation begins at 1:00 PM, try to schedule the hanging of the sign at or near 1:00 PM or the following morning at 8:00 AM for most predictable results.

Go to the service desk when you first get into the hall to confirm hanging schedule and that the advanced orders were received and a hard card created for the crews required to hang the sign. If your sign is electrical, you may have to go to the electrical desk to check on the order for the “in the air” electrical circuit and to the general contractor’s desk or rigger’s desk to check on the crew that will hang the sign itself.

Straight time vs Overtime
The difference in cost between straight and overtime is usually
$200 or more dollars per hour. Essentially, you are paying the difference in cost for the labor that is used to hang the sign. Since the team is composed of 2-3 people, you are paying the straight or overtime rate times 2 or 3 depending on the size of the crew.

Scissor lift vs condor lift – how this equipment affects scheduling
If the hall is using scissor lifts to install the sign, it is considerably more difficult to hang the sign after the exhibit is installed, since the scissor lift moves straight up and down. Thus the hanging sign may have to be installed before the booth is installed. Driving a scissor lift across a carpeted booth, most often leaves a bulge in the carpet. This suggests another reason why you may want to hang your sign before you begin installation of your booth.

Condor lift – allow you to hang the sign at anytime during the exhibit installation. However, if there is a lot of freight in the hall and narrow aisles between booths, it may take an exceedingly long amount of time to get the condor to your location. This may affect scheduling the install and consequently avoiding overtime charges on the install.

Billing and pre-show planning
You are automatically billed for the dismantle at the rate of ½ of whatever the installation costs. Be diligent in planning for the hanging sign install, and schedule according to your plan. Be clear in your communication with the general contractor. If the installation is taking too long, make sure that the foreman knows so that you can have the bill adjusted. Remember, that for every ½ to 1 hour that the installation takes, you will be billed ½ hour on the dismantle for 2-3 men plus a lift or other machinery. Mistakes and inefficiency can cost you and your company a lot of money.

Questions about this article?

TradeShowExhibitGuy.com e-zine is written by Brett Lipeles, CEO of Exhibit & Display Consultants as a response to challenges encountered by exhibitors that are interviewed at recent shows. We now offer a “Pay only for Performance” plan where you pay only a percentage of the savings that our services provide. We save our customers an average of 30% at every show! Contact us today at 401-273-5372 or email us at info@exhibitconsultants.com for an exploratory consultation.

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